Defense Rests Without Testimony From Maxwell

Defendant tells judge prosecution hasn't proven its case
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2021 10:35 AM CST
Updated Dec 17, 2021 5:36 PM CST
Rep Suggests Ghislaine Maxwell 'Too Fragile' to Testify
In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell, left, sits at the defense table with defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca while listening to testimony in her sex abuse trial, Thursday, in New York.   (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

(Newser) Update: This file has been updated with the defense resting its case.
Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers wrapped up their case Friday in her New York trial on charges that she helped Jeffrey Epstein recruit and sexually abuse underage girls. The jury did not hear from the defendant, the AP reports. When asked Friday by US District Judge Alison Nathan, Maxwell said she would not testify because "the government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt." That means closing arguments could begin Monday and jury deliberation as soon as Tuesday. The prosecution rested its case last Friday after calling 24 witnesses, per CNN. Maxwell's attorneys put the first defense witness on the stand Thursday, the 11th day of the trial at Manhattan federal court, per NBC News.

The first defense witness was 55-year-old Cimberly Espinosa, who worked as Maxwell's assistant at Epstein's company in New York City from 1996 to 2002. Espinosa said she "highly respected" Maxwell and "looked up to her very much." She also recalled meeting the accuser known as Jane, who testified about sexual encounters with Maxwell and Epstein beginning when she was 14. But Espinosa said she never saw anything inappropriate. "I thought it was a loving relationship," she added, noting Jane’s mother had told her Epstein was the girl's godfather. She described Epstein as "generous," noting he paid for her personal trainer. "I always knew him to be donating to charities and just being a kind person," she said, per the Guardian.

Another defense witness, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist and memory expert at the University of California, Irvine, testified that a person "exposed to misinformation of an incident … will incorporate that" into their own memory, per NBC. The judge denied a request Thursday to allow defense witnesses to testify under pseudonyms as witnesses for the prosecution had done. She said the court could find no prior case in which this had been allowed. "It appears, then, that the defense's requested relief is unprecedented." Nathan added "none of the defense's witnesses intend to testify to sensitive personal topics or sexual conduct," but rather to "deny misconduct" by the accused, per the Guardian. Therefore, they "do not qualify as victims." (Read more Ghislaine Maxwell stories.)

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